Posts Tagged ‘Research’

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Australia at Work 2009 research findings

December 13, 2009

Last month, the third Australia at Work (A@W) research paper ‘Australia at Work: In a Changing World’ was released by the University of Sydney’s Workplace Research Centre. A@W is a five year research project that started in 2007 to keep tabs on how changes in Australian labour law impact working life.

The paper’s results are based largely on interviews conducted with ~6,801 workers during February-June 2009. As A@W is a longitudinal study, it is worth remembering that the results are limited to the opinions and experiences of the original sample group (i.e. 2006 workforce participants); the results therefore do not take the experiences of new workforce entrants into account. Read more about the survey methodology here or take a look at pages 6 and 7 of the survey.

Things I found interesting:

  • The average number of working hours for full-time employees is 44 hours per week – the same level reported in the A@W 2007 and 2008 papers. This data is also consistent with the Australia Institute’s figures on overtime in Australia which reported that full-time workers were working 70 minutes per day worth of overtime
  • One in four full-time employees want to reduce their hours of work, whilst one in five part-time employees want to increase their hours of work
  • On the whole, the total number of Australians in work has remained stable in spite of the Global Financial Crisis, fear of a recession hitting our shores and an increase in our unemployment rate to 5.7
  • Despite job stability, the number of employees who regard themselves as “dispensable” increased by 3% (to 51% total) stating that they felt if they left their current job, they could easily be replaced
  • Despite the downturn in the economy, the study found considerable evidence that a large portion of workers were unaffected by the downturn with the survey results identifying a 6% decrease in the number of people who reported a lower standard of living in comparison to the 2008 research (21% vs 27%)
  • While a large portion of the workforce reported no affects from the downturn, employees who changed jobs during this time reported a drop in working conditions including a decrease in the number of paid hours of work, a decrease in annual salary and a loss of, or reduction to their paid leave entitlements
  • More workers reported an increase in their managers sharing information with them by consulting about workplace issues. (I wonder if this has anything to do with the increasing popularity of using social media in workplaces?)
  • The number of women employed has increased, although they are quick to caution that this increase should not be misinterpreted as gender equity within Australia
  • What are your thoughts? Are these research findings reflective of your own employment experiences over 2009? I know the information delcaring a large portion of the workforce were unaffected by the downturn came as unexpected news to me (and I still do not buy it).

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    A tired relationship? Australia and overtime

    November 19, 2009

    The results are in. Earlier this week, The Australia Institute published the full results of their nation-wide survey on unpaid overtime in Australia (mentioned in my post ‘Is there such a thing as ‘work/life balance’?’).

    Things I found particularly interesting:

  • 45% of Australian workers work more hours than they are paid for per day
  • Unpaid overtime is more common than paid overtime
  • The amount of unpaid overtime increases, the higher the income
  • Across the Australian workforce (full-time and otherwise), Australians put in overtime equivalent to 1.16 million full-time jobs
  • Full-time employees work 70 minutes per day of unpaid overtime. Interesting then that if you total the annual overtime figure, it amounts to 6.5 standard working weeks – a significant chunk more than a full-time employee’s annual leave entitlement of 4 weeks per year. Perhaps doubly concerning then that Australians do not take their annual leave, with 1 in 4 accruing 5+ weeks of annual leave per year
  • When the survey respondents were asked “If you didn’t work extra hours without pay, which of these do you think would happen?” (question 7, for those playing at home), 63.4% responded “The work wouldn’t get done.” The second most common response was that they felt their career opportunities would be impaired at 12.7%Most of these figures blew me away – these are big numbers. People spending this much time at work, and away from family and friends collectively has huge societal, cultural and economic impacts on our country, and not to mention on an individual’s personal non-work life. The survey results go into much greater detail on this, so it is definitely worth a read.

    So, looking at these results, what’s an employee to do? Volunteer to be a guinea pig for human cloning? Chat to your boss about resourcing? Or think twice about how much time you spend inside and outside the office? A small step might be to sign up for the Go Home On Time Day on next Wednesday, 25 November. I have my leave pass, do you?